BooktubeSFF Awards discussion

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Archived (2016) > Creation of New Categories

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message 1: by Nicole (last edited Feb 23, 2016 03:36PM) (new)

Nicole (nicolepo) | 107 comments This thread is for concrete discussion about creation of new categories in the booktubeSFF Awards. If you post off topic or irrelevant comments in this thread, I will delete them. If you want to suggest or speculate about rule changes that might work, but don't have a concrete topic to discuss, please post the suggestion in the Suggestions for the Future thread. If you would like to propose a change to an existing category, do so in the Changes to Existing Categories thread.

If you are proposing a new rule change, format your post as follows:
1) Proposal Statement - I would like to make x category.
2) The new category as it would appear on the voting ballot or website
3) Details of the new category.
4) Rational - explain why you want to create a new category. What do you think this new category will add or what existing issues do you believe it will fix.
5) Potential drawbacks to the new category - what might go wrong if this category is created?
6) How the new category would be implemented - if you are able to respond to the potential drawbacks by having the judges perform some specific action, explain that here.

If you are responding to a category someone else proposed, format your post as follows:
1) Proposal Statement - include the proposal statement from the new category post you are responding to
2) Thesis statement of your post - If you support the creation of the new category, don't support the new category, are asking for clarification, or would support the new category if it was changed to resolve a specific issue, but don't currently support the proposal, state that right away. At the top of your post.
3) Explanation of your position - please keep this as informative and brief as possible.

If you are responding to a responses:
1) Proposal Statement and who you are responding to - yes, hitting the reply button is fine, but make sure this information is clear at the top of your post.
2) Thesis statement (must include,) including your position on the creation of the new category (if you created the original new category post or the discussion is on going it's fine to omit this)
3) Explanation of your position - kept informative and brief.

Repeat as needed.

If you proposed a new category and would now like to modify your proposal based on feedback, post the new proposal in the same format as above. Return to your original post and edit it to indicate there is an updated form of the proposal below (do not delete original proposal, merely note that it is updated below.)

As with all changes to the BooktubeSFF Awards rules, bear in mind that someone has to implement the change you propose. As of right now, that someone will likely be me, Elizabeth, and the other judges, but especially me. Do not be surprised if I push back on your proposal and ask for clarification. It is important for your proposal to be as fully fleshed out as possible in order to implement it.

Note: this thread is heavily moderated. If you are off topic even a little, I will warn you and/or delete your post. The purpose of this thread is to discuss and create rule changes for the awards. Do NOT derail it, provide an incomplete proposal, or incomprehensible post. You have been warned.


message 2: by Kitty G Books (new)

Kitty G Books (kool_kat_kitty) | 110 comments Mod
I would like to make 'Best Cover Design' a category.

'Best Cover Design'
1) Ebook, Audiobook or Physical books permitted.
2) Fall into the science fiction or fantasy genres.
3) Be an original work of fiction which was first published in English in 2016 (as this would be started in 2017 if it happened).

The new category would, I believe, be an interesting addition to our current topics as not only will it allow anyone to participate in the vote (regardless of having read the book, this one is totally about judging a book by the cover) but it would also be great to look at some of the books which maybe weren't fabulous reads, but which tempted us becuase of their design.
I also think that this is a much-needed category as oftentimes we overlook cover designers and just buy the book, based on their artwork, but don't credit them. Raising awareness of some of the fantastic artists out there seems like it would be a genuinely fun, exciting and interesting.
I think this will be a chance to get some really wonderful discussion going too, as artwork is just as subjective as appreciation of a story and so seeing different people's tastes and finding some gems of the SFF publishing industry would be good.

Potential drawbacks:
I could see people nominating international cover design of a book which is published within the year of nominations. I think for ease of the judges and in order to keep in line with the rest of the Awards we would need to ensure it was an English print edition with an English printed title etc, thus excluding international artists (sadly as I am sure there are many fab ones, but the other categories exclude non-english works and so it only makes sense to stay in line with that).
We may also have confusion over which edition was being submitted as there may be multiple cover designs in the UK vs. US etc.

Combatting drawbacks:
I think it would be fairly easy to moderate whether an edition is English or not by checking on the publisher website and seeing if the title of the story itself is in English. This would probably fall into the same situation as mis-categorised works with the behind-the-scenes crew of Nicole and the other judges discussing any 'problem' items which arose and deciding how to handle them.
As for the multiple editions problem, I am not sure if there is a function which allows people to write in either the ISBN number or upload an image to make sure it is the correct edition that they are nominating, but this might be useful. Otherwise a link to the edition they are nominating. Basically we need somewhere on the nomination form for people to submit the ISBN or an image so that there is no confusion over exactly what is being nominated.

And that's my proposal, let me know what you think and if I've missed anything!


message 3: by Nicole (last edited Feb 25, 2016 10:32AM) (new)

Nicole (nicolepo) | 107 comments Replying to Kaitlin on : I would like to make 'Best Cover Design' a category.

I support the creation of this new category, but I think we'll need to polish up the details.

Comment: Numbers 2&3 in your proposal apply to all works being nominated and don't need to be restated in the specific rules for a category (although, we might have to say something to the effect that only US, UK, and Australian editions are accepted.)

Question 1: Is rule #1 intended to exclude Graphic Novel covers? Either way, I think we might have to find a way to adjust the wording to make that more obvious.

Question 2: Do you intend to exclude new covers for book released earlier? I.e. would the new Mistborn covers have been eligible or the Illustrated Harry Potter this year? Personally, I'd be fine with allowing new cover art on old books to be eligible, but I suspect this would lead to a lot of potential works being eligible.

Question 3: How to resolve the issue of nominators nominating an artist rather than a specific book? A lot of people like Christian McGrath's artwork (Shadows of Self, Aeronaut's Windlass, etc) and he routinely produces more than 5 covers in a year. I'd like to change the wording to make it clear we want a specific book by an artist rather than an artists entire work for a year (i.e. to differentiate from the Hugo Award's Best Professional Artist category.)

Comment regarding editions: I think the easiest thing to do would be to add a note after the "official" qualifications saying that if there exists more than one edition of the cover for the novel, the nominator should specify US, UK or Australian and/or provide the ISBN number. There's no good way for nominators to upload an image with the way the ballot is set up right now, and I'd rather not click a ton of links to see what people have nominated. Just saying the US or UK in the submission box should be sufficient.


message 4: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarahofthebooks) Kaitlin wrote: "I would like to make 'Best Cover Design' a category.

'Best Cover Design'
1) Ebook, Audiobook or Physical books permitted.
2) Fall into the science fiction or fantasy genres.
3) Be an original wor..."


I completely agree with Kaitlin on this.

Often times we appreciate covers - I can't think of anyone who can say they have never made a 'cover buy' just for the artwork or design. However I don't think people are as aware of cover artists and designers as they are perhaps editors, authors, etc. It seems such a small portion of the publishing process and enjoyment but it can really make or break a book's sales, especially at launch. I think it would be well worth our time to highlight and appreciate those that really succeeded for us.

One additional 'maybe' drawback to it would be the fact that occasionally these covers are created in teams, a graphic designer and an artist. Trying to find the both artists will have to be something that needs to be checked and verified but shouldn't require more than work than checking nomination categories.

Kaitlin also pointed out the issue of picking just which cover we are nominating. I can't foresee it being too much of a problem, usually (hopefully) we only see one or two per location release and I think region specifying in the list will help narrow it down too? Someone with more expertise here might be able to look at previous releases and crunch numbers.


message 5: by Kitty G Books (last edited Feb 25, 2016 02:42PM) (new)

Kitty G Books (kool_kat_kitty) | 110 comments Mod
Nicole wrote: "Replying to Kaitlin on : I would like to make 'Best Cover Design' a category."

In response to Nicole:

I agree, we should certainly add in a rule for just English-speaking countries (e.g. Aus, UK, US, Canada etc). Note: Would it be better to say English-speaking or designate specific eligible countries??

In response to the comment about excluding graphic works, to me all graphic works are still either printed physical books or ebooks so I was assuming I had included them too. If you would like to omit them that is fine with me, but often covers for graphic works are still by a different illustrator and so should, by rights, be judged on their own aside from the work within the actual story. I do think we would need to exclude single issues as we already do with the graphic category, but personally I would be okay keeping graphic works as falling under either 'physical' or 'ebook'. If you disagree just let me know.

I'd be fine with allowing new cover art on old books to be eligible, but I suspect this would lead to a lot of potential works being eligible.

I'm also fine with this, and I think the more eligible the better, but equally I think people will only nominate stand-out covers and so I hope that although new editions would be eligible, we'd still have a general consensus about some covers which are 'the best' from that year.

I'd like to change the wording to make it clear we want a specific book by an artist rather than an artists entire work for a year

Agreed, It must be a single cover design, not an artist's portfolio of work. This can be added to the rules.

the easiest thing to do would be to add a note after the "official" qualifications saying that if there exists more than one edition of the cover for the novel, the nominator should specify US, UK or Australian and/or provide the ISBN number.

Again this seems completely reasonable to me and if there was an extra section for this on the nomination ballot then I am sure people would be able to easily find out the ISBN from publishers etc and add it in.

Sarah wrote: One additional 'maybe' drawback to it would be the fact that occasionally these covers are created in teams, a graphic designer and an artist.

This is certainly true. I think maybe we would also need to add a box for the name of the artist/s or designer/s to be added (if known) becuase this would save judges a lot of time verifying and checking. However, if it was nominated without this being filled in I would be happy to do some verifying on the back end.


message 6: by Nicole (new)

Nicole (nicolepo) | 107 comments I would like to make 'Best Cover Design' a category
In response to Kaitlin:

1 - I'd rather not put a second box on the ballot specifically for author/edition/ISBN. First because most people already include that information in the single box (about 3/4 of people write the title and author name when nominating,) and I therefor, don't think it would really be required. Second, because it would actually make tallying slightly more complicated (I would have to add a script to combine the information in the two boxes.)

2 - I've been thinking about it, and I think we should phrase the rules as follows:
Best Cover Design eligible works are:
1) Covers appearing on any printed or electronic novel, short work, or graphic work
2) Covers appearing on English language editions where the cover first appeared in 2016 (the text may have appeared before 2016, but the cover art must be new this year.)
Note: Please include the edition of the work you are nominating as many novels will have different covers in different countries.

3 - Note: I don't actually exclude nominating single issues from Best Graphic Work... it's more that people just don't nominate them. When asked in the past my response has been that you can nominate single issues, but nobody else does, so it's very unlikely your nominee will win. I don't know if a similar logic would apply to this category, but I suspect it would. Not that many people on booktube read single issues, most people read TPs only.

Let me know what you think.


message 7: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Green | 5 comments I would like to make a 'best children's novel' category.

Best Children's Novel
1. Marketed toward children under the age of 12
2. Ebook, Audiobook or Physical books permitted.
3. Fall into the science fiction or fantasy genres.
4. Be an original work of fiction that was first published in 2016

The current ballot completely rejects children literature. I believe that the love of science fiction and fantasy for most adult readers was fostered by a background of science fiction and fantasy children novels.

The main problem I could see occurring by adding this category is how you would judge a novel that was written for very long readers versus readers at the top of the age range.


message 8: by Nicole (new)

Nicole (nicolepo) | 107 comments Elizabeth wrote: "I would like to make a 'best children's novel' category."

I'm ambivalent to this category. Right now, children's and middle grade science fiction and fantasy can be nominated in the best young adult novel category or in the best graphic work category (depending on the length and amount of illustration in the work. For a full overview of eligibility please see the tumblr page.)

I believe it would be technically possible to implement this category, my main concern is if it would be popular enough in the nomination phase to generate a full ballot. I don't see children's literature as being super popular in the community, and I don't know how many works would get nominated and if there would be enough works with at least 2 nominations to generate a ballot. (Note: I'm mostly ignorant about this area, so it's possible there's nothing to worry about in this regard.) I'm also not sure how many people would participate in the readalongs or vote in the popular vote for this category. I guess my basic concern is that I'm not sure how much participation there would be in a specific children's category. If there is a group strongly in favor of adding this, I think it can be made to work within the existing awards structure.

A couple of technical questions. Would this category include picture books, or would you want to see those included in best graphic work still? Would middle grade novels also be included in children's (at age 12, I'm assuming yes) or still be included in best young adult?


message 9: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Green | 5 comments In response to Nicole on my proposal : "I would like to make a 'best children's novel' category."

I feel like middle grade would be included in this category. There are a good number of people in the community that read middle grade and children's fiction. It not as common as YA or Adult Novels.

I didn't see this category including picture books. Maybe a category for picture books should be created. Although I'm not as familiar with people in the community that read a ton of picture books. I know some book bloggers but I'm not sure how active they are in the booktube community and how many of there followers are active in both communities.


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